Medical schools are looking for more than a strong academic record.
Physicians have to be smart, but they should also be good listeners, capable leaders, team players, altruistic, flexible, compassionate, and culturally sensitive. Schools look for well-rounded candidates, so it is important to incorporate clinical and research exposure into your undergraduate career. Increasingly, Haverford students are applying as alumni in order to enrich clinical and work experiences after graduation.
Taking advantage of the courses offered through the Health Studies Minor is a great way to demonstrate your involvement in and understanding of medicine. Many of these courses examine the important intersection between public health and social justice.
Intellectually curious individuals are ideal candidates for medical school, and having research experience is a great way to demonstrate this characteristic. If you’re interested in the sciences, plan to spend time in a laboratory setting, with an eye toward working in a biomedical laboratory. Additionally, if you’re unsure of your career path—MD, MD-PhD, or PhD—spending another year or two after graduation in a research lab may help clarify your goals.
Haverford College provides motivated students with opportunities for research on- and off-campus. Apply for funding through the KINSC, or talk to a professor about working in their lab during the school year, or over the summer.
Note: Individuals interested specifically in MD-PhD programs need to demonstrate a serious interest in and exposure to research, and will need to be very familiar with their research projects.
Leadership and Service
Consider your non-academic activities as learning opportunities, but take care not to become overextended. Depth and continuity is more valuable than casual participation in a multitude of activities. It’s always best to focus on something you feel passionate about.
Medically-Related Patient Centered Experience
Medical schools look for individuals with a history of engaging in patient-centered experiences, and an ability to demonstrate the insight gained through working with patients in a clinical setting.
Having first-hand experience—either as an employee, volunteer, or intern—also shows schools that you’re making a knowledgeable career choice. This is why exploring medicine from as many perspectives as possible is so important.
Volunteer and Service
Medicine is a service based career. You can strengthen your ability to communicate with people from different backgrounds and cultures through community service activities. There are many ways you can serve the community around you.
- Participate in one of the many established community service, public health research, and clinical opportunities that are available in the US and abroad through the Center for Global Peace and Citizenship (CPGC).
- Familiarize yourself with the volunteer opportunities provided by Eighth Dimension throughout the academic year, and during breaks.
- Familiarize yourself with the Haverford College Civic Engagement Office website, as well as the Bryn Mawr College Civic Engagement Office (CEO) directory of health care volunteer opportunities in the main line and Philadelphia area.
The Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA) offers a variety of resources including career advising, information on summer internships, listings of gap year opportunities, as well as resume and cover letter review.
- Many pre-health students participate in the CCPA’s extern program, in which alumni invite current students to job shadow during winter or spring break.
- There are two health-related summer fellowship opportunities: the Primary Care Pre-Medical Fellowship provided by Dr. Steven Jaharis, and the Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant to work with patients with developmental disabilities or neurological disorders in direct care.
First-year students and sophomores interested in medicine or dentistry should consider the annual six-week summer program offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).